David Crisp has moxie. That much we can say. He is built in the Isaiah Thomas mold: he is confident, brash, left-handed, and has a short, stocky frame. That is really where the similarities end, when it comes to contrasting the on-court skills of the two players. As Husky fans we continued to repeat that Crisp reminded us of Thomas. We were wrong.
David Crisp is an undersized shooting guard. He isn't a point guard, and isn't really a combo guard either. He doesn't attack the rim to create for others. The only Husky with a higher percentage of shot attempts being threes (66.8 percent) was Donaven Dorsey (75.4 percent), who took a total of 57 shots for the entire season. Dominic Green has the reputation of being a shooter first, second and last; threes made up 66.3 percent of Green's shot attempts.
If Crisp isn't the player we thought he was, then we need to shift our thoughts about what he can become. This is the first entry into a series titled "What could he become?" Here, we will take a look into the ceiling and floor of each of the young players on the roster.
With Crisp, the floor is fairly easy to see. He was the least efficient scorer of anyone who stayed in the rotation all season long (that removes Green, Dorsey and Devenir Duruisseau, though he did fall well behind Dorsey). The simplest way to look at scoring efficiency is True Shooting Percentace (TS%). It takes into account all shot attempts: threes, twos, and free throws. It is essentially a combination of effective field goal percentage and free throw rate, two of my favorite pet statistics.
What is True Shooting Percentage - TS%?
A statistic in basketball used to gauge shooting efficiency that takes into consideration points scored from three pointers, field goals and free-throws to get a measure of points scored each shooting attempt.
It is calculated as follows:
Points / (2 * (FG Attempts + 0.44 * FT Attempts))
For someone whose position is better described as scoring guard than shooting guard or point guard, Crisp's TS% of .374 in conference play is worse than the worst shooting team of all Division-I basketball, by a very significant margin. Quinnipiac finished at .458. The floor for Crisp is that he is a volume shooter with the efficiency of a really bad volume shooter.
How does he hit this floor? His off-the-bounce game never develops and he doesn't improve his shooting.
If you are a jump shot aficionado, you are familiar with the term "sweep and sway" relative to a jumper. It boils down to allowing your legs to kick out in front of you as part of a jump shot, while leaning your upper body back. It is a controversial technique that some are successful with and some are successful without. Crisp takes this to an extreme and attempts to kick his defenders in the nads on each and every jumper. It is to the point where the excess motion throws off his balance and forces him to work harder to get a shot up, the opposite goal of the sweep and sway.
Of Pac-12 players with at least 150 three-point jump shots attempted over the course of the season, Crisp ranked dead last at 30.3 percent. If we change the filter to conference play only, it gets much worse. Of players with at least 80 three-point attempts in conference play, Crisp is the only player under 25 percent at 24.7. In fact, he is the only one under 30 percent, with the closest being fellow freshman Bennie Boatwright at 31.0 percent.
If he can't quiet his shooting motion, he will continue to be streaky at best from the outside. His size is going to limit his defensive capabilities, he hasn't been a playmaker, and he doesn't get inside and to the foul line. That is the floor for David Crisp.
Crisp is strong. If the ball is in his hands more often, he should be able to use his strength to force his way into the lane and finish shots among the trees and get to the foul line. We have seen that he has the mentality and the mindset to force the action. That mental strength and stubbornness is required to be a little guy going inside.
What remains to be seen is if he has the body control to maximize his strength at the rim. Can he make the tough reverse layups and acrobatic mid-air shot changes look easy? If so, it will open up playmaking opportunities for him to kick out to Dominic Green and Matisse Thybulle in the corners or dumping the ball off to Sam Timmins on the pick and roll when the big man is forced to commit.
His size will necessitate the development of a strong floater (high school showed flashed of one) to finish when he can't get all the way to the rim, no matter how well he finishes at the cup. It doesn't have to be Nigel WIlliams-Goss or even Dejounte Murray-level, but he will need it to be more-than-functional to maximize his interior game and becoume a leading scorer.
If he can develop that sort of playmaking then he won't need much more of an outside shooting game, but we are talking about ceiling here. His jumper is the focal point of his game right now, and it is below average. With more consistent shooting through practice and a more efficient motion, he definitely has the tools to be a good outside shooter by the end of his time at Montlake.
Defensively, his height is always going to limit him, but he can still be a pest, and is already adept at poking the ball away from ball-handlers and especially when he digs down against big men. If he can continue to annoy defensively, he will create even more offensive opportunities on the fastbreak, where he does his best distributing.
Can Crisp develop the inside game to maximize his abilities? Only time can tell. My opinion is that he will continue to be an outside gunner, but with the departure of Andrew Andrews and the introduction of a true point guard in Markelle Fultz, Crisp is going to have more of an opportunity to attack the basket. He will need to improve (he will) his free throw percentage, but has to actually spend time at the foul line to build comfort there.
Crisp won't be a point guard. He shoots the ball. To be at his best he needs another player to be the primary ball-handler. Having the primary ball-handler not be the leading scorer in the conference is going to help him. I think he will top out at about 36 percent from deep but will spend more time getting into the lane and to the charity stripe. His scoring will top out at around 14 points per game in his senior season, though he will be at or near the team lead in total shot attempts (unless there is a stud newcomer, but that is too far down the road).
To be the best player he can be, he needs to change himself closer to the mold of what we expected out of him, mostly because those are the facets we haven't seen at all. He can't be top ten in the conference in three-point attempts while shooting at the percentage he did. His game needs to diversify while also improving on the aspect of his game that he does utilize.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and Hoop-Math.
What is your prediction for how Crisp's career is going to shake out?